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Can the child support amount deviate from state guidelines?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2023 | Child Support

In North Carolina, when a couple gets divorced and has children, child support will be a crucial aspect of the case. The state has specific criteria in place that it uses to decide on how much will be paid. In many instances, it is accurate and applicable.

However, it does not fit every circumstance. People going through a family law case may expect the law and various guidelines to be set in stone. That is not accurate. The court will have freedom to change the order based on need. Factors that are considered include the parents’ income, the child’s needs, if there are daycare costs, vast medical costs and more.

There might be deviations from the child support guidelines. It is imperative for people who believe they fall into this category to know what the rules are and how it can impact them whether they are the paying parent or the receiving parent.

When might the court deviate from the child support guidelines?

The court can deviate from the guidelines on its own or it can deviate based on either party filing a motion. The key is whether the child’s fundamental needs will be met and the parents are able to meet those needs.

As it looks at the evidence, the court will need to determine that it has been proven that the guidelines do not fit. That could go both ways with the guidelines being excessive for the child’s needs or not being sufficient.

When there is a deviation, the court is required to have written findings that say how much would be paid based on the guidelines; what the child’s reasonable needs are and the parents’ ability to provide support to meet those needs; give justification as to why the court has decided the guidelines should not be used; and state how it decided on the amount it has ordered.

For complex child support issues, parents should seek experienced help

Just as every family situation is different, the child support guidelines might not suit everyone. Whether the custodial parent has substantial wealth while the noncustodial parent does not; the child’s needs are such that they require extra support; or there are other factors that need to be considered, it is imperative to have assistance regardless of the perspective.

Contacting experienced, caring and trustworthy people who are well-versed in assessing the circumstances and finding customized solutions can be crucial to getting a fitting support order. Some cases are relatively amicable while others are contentious. No matter what, it is useful to have advice, especially when the child support guidelines are not believed to be accurate.